The Cooperation Committee, as well as the Sub-Committee on Development Cooperation that was held on the 29th, took place in a particularly constructive atmosphere, following the initialling of the EPCA last July, recent high level visits and the positive response of the EU to Kyrgyz requests regarding cooperation/development assistance (drinking water, state digitalization agenda) and the overall positive trend in regional political developments.
The Cooperation Committee reaffirmed the mutual commitment to continue and strengthen cooperation on political and security issues, as well as in sustainable economic development.
The Kyrgyz side emphasised the EU's role as a key partner and welcomed the EU's new Strategy on Central Asia, which will support Kyrgyz democratic processes.The EU's approach, in particular its support to regional cooperation and closer links with Afghanistan, was highly appreciated, as well the continuation of BOMCA and CADAP programmes.
The EU side underlined that the new Strategy will aim at bringing mutual, tangible and long-term benefits, so that the region develops as a more resilient, prosperous and closely interconnected economic and political space. The EU welcomed, in that respect, the deep economic reforms underway in Kyrgyzstan, including the modernisation of the judicial and fiscal systems.
The EU also underlined the importance of the rule of law as a key pillar of democratic governance and economic prosperity. The two sides had an exchange of views on the Parliamentary election of October 2020. The EU stressed the importance of ensuring equal opportunities to all candidates, including women, of fighting vote buying, corruption, (mis)use of public funds, of granting access to electoral stations of persons with disabilities, and of ensuring freedom of the media. The Kyrgyz Central Electoral Commission presented detailed information on the reform of the electoral system.
The EU also commended the entry into force of the new Criminal/Criminal Procedure code and welcomed continuous commitment by the government and the President towards the implementation of the judiciary reform.
The two sides took stock of bilateral trade developments, including Kyrgyz utilisation of the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+), the business environment and regional cooperation. The EU welcomed the intention of Kyrgyzstan to host the 1st EU-Central Asia Economic Forum next year in Bishkek
The EU and Kyrgyzstan also exchanged views on transport, regional and international issues including cooperation on water and energy, environment and climate change.
The two sides discussed the next steps (legal scrubbing, translation) in order to prepare the signature of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement initialled in July.
The Cooperation Committee meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Luc Devigne, Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia and OSCE in the European External Action Service and the Kyrgyz side was led by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Azizbek Madmarov.
The next Cooperation Committee is due to take place in 2020 in Bishkek.